With billions of dollars in flood damage in Iowa, the American Red Cross is appealing for help from potential donors and volunteers in neighboring states like Nebraska. Leslie Schaffer, executive director of the central Iowa chapter of the Red Cross, says the widespread flooding inundated the Hawkeye State.
“This is the first time in a quite a while that we’ve had to ask Red Cross and our national organization to help us support a disaster relief effort in Iowa, and so we have people from throughout the United States coming in to help with the disaster relief effort,” Schaffer says. She says Iowa isn’t a state that normally has many natural disasters, so most of the time Iowa Red Cross volunteers go to other states.
Red Cross chapters across the state at one point had 36 shelters set up to help with tornado and flood relief. Schaffer says in the past several weeks the Red Cross has helped thousands of Iowans and did a survey of those who were impacted. Schaffer says they had three-thousand-275 homes that were destroyed, three-thosuand-821 with major damage, one-thousand-904 with minor damage, and three-thousand-303 that were affected. All those homes added up total 12-thousand-303.
Schaffer says they help people get back into homes and help them with other necessities. She says people sometimes evacuate with only the clothes they are wearing, they need medications, they may’ve found a place to live and need first month’s rent, and the Red Cross tries to help them with all those situations. Schaffer says the Red Cross has provided over 670-thousand meals, over 28-thousand cleanup kits, and over 11-thousand hygiene kits to flood and tornado victims.
All the help takes money and Schaffer says they still need cash donations. “Right now we have total estimated costs of about 12-point-five million dollars, that might go up just a little bit,” Schaffer says. She says they’ve raised about four-point-eight million dollars that has been designated for the flood and tornado recovery in Iowa. Schaffer says you can send a check to the Red Cross and target the money for Iowa. She says if you want to designate the money, you can put “Iowa floods” or “Iowa tornadoes” in the memo line.
She says you can donate to the national disaster relief fund at the Red Cross website, or call 1-866-Help-Now.